Category Archives: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964

“Presence of God: O Jesus, I want to follow You in Your triumph, so that I may follow You later to Calvary.

MEDITATION

Holy Week begins with the description of the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His Passion. Jesus, who had always been opposed to any public manifestation and who had fled when the people wanted to make Him their king (cf. John 6:15), allows Himself to be borne in triumph today. Not until now, when He is about to die, does He submit to being publicly acclaimed as the Messiah, because by dying on the Cross, He will be, in the most complete manner: Messiah, Redeemer, King, and Victor. He allows Himself to be recognized as King, but a King who will reign from the Cross, who will triumph and conquer by dying on the Cross. The same exultant crowd that acclaims Him today will curse Him in a few days and lead Him to Calvary; today’s triumph will be the vivid prelude to tomorrow’s Passion.

Jesus enters the holy city in triumph, but only in order to suffer and die there. Hence, the twofold meaning of the Procession of the Palms: it is not enough to accompany Jesus in His triumph; we must follow Him in His Passion, prepared to share in it by stirring up in ourselves, according to St. Paul’s exhortation (Philippians 2:5-11), His sentiments of humility and total immolation, which will bring us, like Him and with Him, “unto death, even to the death of the Cross.” The palms which the priest blesses today have not only a festive significance; they also “represent the victory which Jesus is about to win over the prince of death” (Roman Missal). For us too, they must be symbols of triumph, indicative of the victory to be won in our battle against the evil in ourselves and against the evil which roams about us. As we receive the blessed palm, let us renew our pledge to conquer with Jesus, but let us not forget that it was on the Cross that He conquered.

COLLOQUY

“O Jesus, I contemplate You in Your triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Anticipating the crowd which would come to meet You, You mounted an ass and gave an admirable example of humility in the midst of the acclamations of the crowd who cut branches of trees and spread their garments along the way. While the people were singing hymns of praise, You were filled with pity and wept over Jerusalem. Rise now, my soul, handmaid of the Savior, join the procession of the daughters of Sion and go out to meet your King. Accompany the Lord of heaven and earth, seated on an ass; follow Him with olive and palm branches, with works of piety and with victorious virtues” (cf. St. Bonaventure).

O Jesus, what bitter tears You shed over the city which refused to recognize You! And how many souls, like Jerusalem, go to perdition on account of their obstinate resistance to grace! For them, I pray with all my strength. “My God, this is where Your power and mercy should be shown. Oh! what a lofty grace I ask for, O true God, when I conjure You to love those who do not love You, to answer those who do not call to You, to give health to those who take pleasure in remaining sick!… You say, O my Lord, that You have come to seek sinners. Here, Lord, are the real sinners. But, instead of seeing our blindness, O God, consider the precious Blood which Your Son shed for us. Let Your mercy shine out in the midst of such great malice. Do not forget, Lord, that we are Your creatures, and pour out on us Your goodness and mercy” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 8).

Even if we resist grace, O Jesus, You are still the Victor; Your triumph over the prince of darkness is accomplished, and humanity has been saved and redeemed by You. You are the Good Shepherd who knows and loves each one of His sheep and would lead them all to safety. Your loving heart is not satisfied with having merited salvation for the whole flock; it ardently desires each sheep to profit by this salvation….O Lord, give us then, this good will; enable us to accept Your gift, Your grace, and grant that Your Passion may not have been in vain.”

Love,
Matthew

Palm Sunday – “All Glory, Laud, & Honor!!!”

Lodewijk_I_de_Vrome_778-840
Louis the Pious, (778-840 AD), only surviving sone of Charlemagne, who imprisoned Theodulf

Theodulf_of Orleans
-Theodulf, called to the court of Charlemagne, stained glass, oratory at Germigny-des-Prés, after a restoration in the 19th century

-by Theodulf of Orléans (ca. 760–821 AD)

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee Redeemer King,
To Whom the lips of children,
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s name comest,
The King and blessed One.

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee Redeemer King,
To Whom the lips of children,
Made sweet hosannas ring.

The company of angels
are praising Thee on high,
And mortal men and all things
created make reply.

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee Redeemer King,
To Whom the lips of children,
Made sweet hosannas ring.

The people of the Hebrews
with palms before Thee went,
Our praise and pray’rs and anthems
before Thee we present.

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee Redeemer King,
To Whom the lips of children,
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou didst accept their praises
accept the pray’rs we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee Redeemer King,
To Whom the lips of children,
Made sweet hosannas ring.

dan_graves
-by Dan Graves

“Life, which has cast both smiles and frowns on Theodulf, now frowns. He is facing imprisonment in the year 818 AD. As a refugee from Spain, which was overrun by Moorish conquerors in the eighth century, Theodulf had made his way to Italy where he became an abbot, and from there he moved on to the court of Charlemagne.

Always on the lookout for literary talent, Charlemagne appointed him bishop of Orleans. Theodulf wrote poems and epitaphs for state occasions and served as scholar, church reformer, educator, and theological advisor to the Frankish emperor. His writings included sermons and theological treatises on baptism and the Holy Spirit. He opposed the use of icons and revised the text of the Bible. But following Charlemagne’s death in 814, his sons squabbled over his empire, which began to tear apart.

Now, in 818, one of these sons, Louis the Pious, suspects Theodulf of conniving with an Italian rival. He strips Theodulf of his honors and orders him to a monastery in Angiers on the River Maine.

The walls of Saint-Aubin seal him in. Lost to him is his personal estate at Germigny. Lost is the radiant chapel he built there. No more will he be called to direct the church or write epitaphs for the imperial court.

There is, however, a greater Emperor by far, to Whom he can appeal and from Whom earthly rulers can never deny him access. He need never lose this other Emperor’s favor. Walls cannot shut Him out. However much Theodulf bemoans the injustice done to him, he can still laud the King of Kings. In his monastic cell, he composes the verses of one of the greatest paeans ever written to our savior:

“All glory, laud, and honor
to Thee, Redeemer, King
To Whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.”

Within four years of the start of his imprisonment, Theodulf dies. More than a thousand years later, an English translation of his hymn will remain a favorite in the church’s Palm Sunday festivities.”

Love,
Matthew

Palm Sunday – The Donkey

palm-sunday-Quotes

“When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.”
-G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 – 1936) was a prolific author, writing on a variety of topics including religion, economic theory, and philosophy.  He wrote poetry, plays, novels, and the famous Father Brown detective series.  Chesterton’s most famous novel was “A Man Called Thursday”, which is about a policeman who infiltrates a secret organization of anarchists.  Although it has been over seventy years since Chesterton’s death, he continues to be one of the most quoted authors of the last century.

What I love about Chesterton is that he has a way of bringing clarity to the most muddled of subjects.  Sadly, many people believe that Chesterton is too difficult to read and don’t even make an attempt to tackle his writings.  I do admit that I find a second, more careful, reading is sometimes necessary when I read Chesterton’s heavier works (work is involved?), but it is usually because I am so astounded at the man’s wit that I want to make sure that I understand him correctly.

A convert to the Catholic Church in 1922, Chesterton’s private writings show his desire to move toward the Church as early as 1911.  It is believed that his long wait was due to his desire to have his wife Francis convert alongside him. After all, it was Francis who led him from Unitarianism to Anglicanism. Chesterton’s conversion was the big news of his day.  The kind of news that is fervently discussed around the water cooler at the office.  Chesterton wrote of his decision, “The difficulty of explaining why I am a Catholic, is that there are 10,000 reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.”

“The Donkey” is a microcosm of Chesterton and his philosophy. Already present in this sweet little poem are all the elements that would fill his writing for the rest of his life: paradox, humor, humility, wonder, the defense of the poor and the simple, the rebuke of the rich and worldly wise. The other recurrent theme, seen in everything from his Father Brown stories to his public debates, is the presentation of a character we would at first dismiss, but who surprises us by being in direct contact with Truth itself. Be careful before you call someone an ass. He may be carrying Christ.

Chesterton’s writings – stories, essays, poems, books, journalism – are infused with an unequalled joy and love of truth.

In youth, he went through a crisis of nihilistic pessimism and it was his recovery from this that led him to God and ultimately to conversion.  “The Devil made me a Catholic,” he said – meaning that it was the experience of evil and nothingness that convinced him of the goodness and sanity of the world and his creator.  His poem “The Ballade of a Suicide” celebrates the salvific value of ordinary things; his novel, “The Man who was Thursday,” narrates the fight for sanity in an insane world and ponders the paradox of God; and “Orthodoxy”, written long before he became a Catholic, highlights orthodoxy not as a dead and static thing but as the only possible point of equilibrium between crazy heresies any one of which would drive us mad.

He took part in all the major controversies of his age, and was a lifelong adversary and friend of socialists and atheists such as George Bernard Shaw.  These controversies were conducted with passion but with unfailing charity: he never sought to defeat his opponents, only to defeat their ideas.  He would never cheat to score a point: and his love for the people he fought against is something that all controversialists should imitate, however hard it may be.

Blessed Palm Sunday!
Love,
Matthew